China 'to retaliate' if U.S. acts against journalists

Elias Hubbard
August 5, 2020

The ministry understands that no Chinese journalist in the USA has had their application for a visa renewal approved since Washington moved in May to limit their visas to 90 days, with an option for an extension, Reuters quoted spokesman Wang Wenbin as saying.

The Epoch Times has reached out to the U.S. State Department for confirmation, but did not receive a response by press time.

The spokesperson noted that the US has been so entrenched in a Cold War mentality and ideological bias that it has been escalating its actions against Chinese media.

Webin did not say what the repercussions for American journalists in China or Hong Kong would be, though he noted that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (HKSAR) is "China's territory".

China's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that China will retaliate if the US continues escalating political suppression of Chinese media in the country.

Additional imitations were placed on Chinese visas in May, allowing only 90-day stays, unless an extension is granted. In a June 23 survey, the International Federation of Journalists, the world's largest journalist organization, said Beijing was running an "extensive and sophisticated long-term" media outreach campaign to spread its talking points globally.

The U.S. State Department has cited concerns over the legitimacy of the new outlets, declaring they are "substantially owned or effectively controlled" by the Chinese government.

In February 2020, the US also designated five Chinese media organizations in the "foreign missions" and then placed a cap on the number of their staff, in effect expelling 60 Chinese journalists, according to Wang.

China expelled US journalists working for three USA newspapers - New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post - this year and has threatened to match any more USA action against Chinese journalists.

China responded to the initial designations earlier this year by forcing dozens of journalists from the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Washington Post to leave China.

China ranks 177 out of 180 in the World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders, an global press freedom watchdog.

Such a move would also follow the recent closures of diplomatic consulates in both countries.

Trump administration on Friday imposed sanctions against a major paramilitary organization and its commander in China's western Xinjiang region for alleged human rights abuses against ethnic and religious minorities. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus told The Epoch Times at the time that the "United States will not tolerate the PRC's violations of our sovereignty and intimidation of our people, just as we have not tolerated the PRC's unfair trade practices, theft of American jobs, and other egregious behavior". "If that's the case, the Chinese side will retaliate, including targeting U.S. journalists based in HK", Hu wrote on Twitter.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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